Wow… THIS IS THE END GUYS!! I really don't know what to say. First of all, I want to thank every person who has reviewed, Favourited, Alerted, or even just read through it once or twice. I love you all, sososo much.
This is seriously the last chapter of Bloody Blossoms. Sigh. However! I might be writing a sequel, depending on how many requests I get for one. SO! If you want a sequel, you have to let me know, 'kay?
Disclaimer: Me no own.
Dedication: To Ronnie-sama (because you're my darling, and you've stuck with me for the entire story)!! To Music 1s my s0ul (because you give me cookies, and you stuck with me, too). And to every person who's ever reviewed my lovely little story.
Even with the giant, dead, ugly snake behind them, none of them were satisfied. There was the cleaning up to do, and the authorities to hide from, and things to steal, really.
Tenten went towards the dead snake, and poked it with her katana. Damn, she needed to find the thing's head, so that she could get that knife back… She sighed, as Sakura and the others had already walked off, towards that weird little hospital Hinata had set up.
She caught up with them, thwacking Karin unceremoniously over the top of the head.
"Ditch me, much?"
Karin smiled, fakery in her voice.
"I love you, too. Maybe, one day, we'll get married, and have children, and be happy for ever!"
Temari raised her eyes to the sky, and shook her head at them.
"You all are idiots."
The sandy blonde stopped dead, her eyes widening.
"The place is crumbling into pieces."
The six of them dashed for the cover of the makeshift hospital, and just as they managed to get in, Sakura could see the walls of the place breaking down, slowly, slowly.
"Shit, shit, double shit…"
"Can we go now?"
Kakashi, a slightly insane fear in his eyes, picked Anko up, and pointed out the door. Sakura didn't even stop, picked up one of the girls, and left the room as quickly as she could. Naruto grabbed the blonde-haired boy, hoisted him up over one shoulder, and tossed a second child on his back as well. He glared at the motionless Sasuke, who snarled, and also picked a child.
The boy looked slightly sheepish, and Sasuke just sighed at him.
The other children were swept up, each in turn, and they dashed out of the disintegrating building. And, of course, the children (being children) were laughing and shrieking with glee, like the truly twisted and depraved people who were carrying them about.
The sun had risen high now, high enough that it actually wasn't cold, and there was enough light to all of them to realize that, ewww, they were covered in the gook from the dead lizard-gooky-slimy-gross-things they had been fighting earlier on.
"Urgh. Sasuke, come and take this one. We need to get home, and get cleaned up. This day was fucking exhausting."
The little girl tilted her head up at Sakura, slight anger in her eyes, a pout on her lips, and her fingers dug into Sakura's top.
"My name is Aki. Don't say bad words. And I don't really care that you're slimy."
Sakura looked at the tiny girl incredulously, before bursting out in laughter made of ringing bells. The little girl wrinkled her nose oh-so-delicately and muttered a quiet "Nut."
This really did not stop the laughter, not at all. In fact, it probably made it worse, to the point where Sakura, still holding the small child, had doubled over, she was laughing so hard. Anko, too, got caught up in it; all of them did, until all the almost-adults in the vicinity were wiping tears of laughter from their eyes.
The children did not look amused.
"Sa-Sakura, we've got another you right there! She's a young you!"
"Are you implying I am old, Naruto-baka?!"
The man in question gulped, and hid behind the still-giggling Hinata.
"Please don't hurt me!"
Yuhi, who was still clinging to the blond man, scrunched his nose, a habit Aki had apparently picked up from him.
"Don't be mean, baa-chan!"
Sakura twitched, and looked at the blond-haired carbon copy of Naruto. He, too, gulped, and he, too, hid behind both Naruto and Hinata, while Sakura glared at them. fury in her eyes.
"I AM NOT OLD!!"
And then, in a tiny voice, they both muttered two words.
Sakura smirked in victory.
Anko sighed, and shook her head. Already, the little black-haired girl, the one with the big dark green eyes, she was looking up at Sakura, adoration in her eyes.
"Teach me how to do that! I wanna know how to make Yuhi listen to me!"
"Alright then. I'll teach you how to make evil boys obey you, but you gotta make a promise to keep it secret, 'kay?"
The little girl nodded seriously, determination shining in her eyes. She had decided right then, having seen how scared Yuhi and Yuhi's older version were; she had decided she wanted to be Sakura.
"C'mon guys. Let's go home. I'm so tired."
Kakashi nodded at Anko's statement.
The purple-haired woman sighed, before mumbling out a single, garbled, word-like sound.
"She means our home. As in, the place where she was kidnapped from yesterday."
She looked slightly shocked.
"Was that really only… yesterday?!"
Both Tenten's and Karin's mouths dropped. Had this really only been an entire day?! How could that be possible? So many things, so many emotional shocks. All of it had happened in so little time.
Just like the Da Vinci Code!
Temari, holding the dirt-blond Moegi, sighed. The girl had yet to lift her face out of the crook of her neck. Shikamaru was on her other side, arm around both her waist, and the small child.
Anko sighed softly, in both wistfulness, and happiness.
The looked like a family.
And right then and there, she knew her family of seven had just been tripled. It wouldn't just be her and the girls anymore. It would be her, the girls, the boys, Kakashi, the children, and any pets that might eventually include.
The thought made her smile.
And that smile led to a smirk, because she had an entire array of new children to train! Of course, knowing herself as well as she did, she would probably drag a very unwilling Kakashi to help her.
It was so ironic.
She had worked so hard to keep her girls safe from the evils that (she thought) were Sharingan. And they ended up falling in love with the (supposed) jerks, all the same.
Besides, she had no right to talk.
Sakura sighed and slipped into the shower.
The boys had already gone back to their place, to get cleaned up, and to rest a bit, before they decided what was going to happen.
Were they going to go back to hating each other? Were they going to go to the monotony of a normal life, where they didn't steal anything? Were they going to go back to every job they'd ever done, or was that all going to end?
She was not going to stop lifting everything she could lay her hands on, just because stupid Sasuke told her so. If he thought he could control her, he had another thing coming.
That other thing was specifically her fist.
The other question lay in the children. Hinata was currently keeping them amused, save for Aki, who had insisted on staying with Sakura, going so far as to have insisted she sit in Sakura's room, waiting for the older female to get cleaned up.
Sakura smiled, because really, it was like having a younger sister, or a very determined daughter.
This must have been how Anko had felt when she took them all in, that very long time ago. Sakura decided it was a nice feeling that she could live with.
And, of course, Sakura had already decided she would start training the girl the next day. And there was plenty to teach her. No, of course she hadn't been planning it since earlier. Psh, ya right.
Hinata was currently surrounded by children, only one of whom she was actually related to.
Hanabi was clutching her hand, still obviously shaken, but smiling now, too. Konohamaru, Udon, and Moegi were having an animated discussion about which adult they liked the best. Obito and Yuhi were both sitting on the floor, looking so much like younger versions of Sasuke and Naruto; it was more then slightly eerie. Aki was upstairs, virtually stalking Sakura.
Hinata had no doubt, right then and there, that she'd be babysitting these little monsters more often then not. She turned to look at them all, and noted that they were all looking back at her.
"Are you guys hungry?"
Six pairs of eyes met hers in that instant, and then six heads started to nod frantically. Hinata could not blame them; she had no idea when the last time they ate was.
"Go get a little bit cleaned up, and then I'll make you guys something to eat. No pushing no shoving, either. Most of you are still bruised, and I don't want you making it any worse, alright?"
The children did as they were told, obviously still too much in awe of the fact that somebody cared about them to argue.
That awe would probably not last all that long. They were still children, after all.
A few minutes later, the children filed in, all of them silent. Hinata cocked an eyebrow at them, and she stopped, long enough to look at them, hands on her hips.
"Is something wrong?"
The mumbled chorus of soft "No"'s startled her. There was definitely something wrong, but they all sat down at the table, each slowly taking tentative bites of the melted cheese and crackers Hinata had placed in front of them.
They chewed slowly, waited for a moment, expressions a mix between terror and extreme happiness, before gobbling down the rest.
Hinata realized, with a wince, that they thought it might have been poisoned. What had Orochimaru put these little ones through?
They all looked up at her, eyes pleading for more. She laughed, and handed them a plate of cookies. She told them, (firmly enough, she thought) that two each were enough. She watched Yuhi palm a third one, a slight of hand tick Naruto used often enough.
She raised a single eyebrow at him, and he guiltily put it back. He could see the amused smile playing at her lips, so he knew she wasn't really all that angry.
"Two guys, just two. We're going to be having a big supper, so I need your help to get it made, all right?"
They nodded rapidly, understanding the hidden message. They knew this dinner would be vital to their future, of which adult they'd end up with, and whether or not they were even staying.
They all knew there was a possibility they wouldn't be wanted.
"But first, we have to get you all some clean clothes. Moegi, could you go find Ino for me, please?"
The girl looked confused.
"The tall blond who brought Udon in."
"'Kay! I'll be right back!"
The small dirty-blond-haired girl ran off, and Hinata had a feeling she was going to search every room until she found the woman she was looking for.
Hinata gave the girl a mental pat on the back. Good thieving behaviour, that was. Then, she smacked herself on the forehead. The girl would probably end up bothering people who wouldn't want to be bothered.
"Hanabi, could you watch these guys for a sec?"
Hanabi tilted her head to the side, pursed her lips (Hinata found this to be highly reminiscent of their mother) and then nodded her head with a smile. She nodded her head towards the door, indicating that Hinata should go. Hinata noted the immeasurable grace put into this small movement, and smiled.
When Hanabi was older, Hinata was fairly certain they'd look like twins.
And, besides, immeasurable grace ran in the family.
The children were staring at her, as she pulled out a few more things that would be required for dinner tonight. As she left the room, she noted that the children were all staring at her.
It almost made her blush.
"Ino! Ino! Where are you?!"
As she zoomed down the hall, calling for the requested blond, she slammed headfirst into someone much bigger then herself. She gasped ad waited for the usual punishment.
It never came.
Temari was looking down at her, worry in her slanted teal eyes.
"Are you all right? Did you hurt yourself?"
Moegi shook her head, no, and was about to open her mouth to speak, but thought better of it.
No. Hinata had asked her to Ino, and find Ino, she would.
"Ummm… I'm fine. D'you know where Ino is?!"
Temari smiled at the breathless girl. She had obviously been running for a good time now.
"She's right down the hall, through the second-to-last door on the right. Did Hinata ask you to find her?"
"So she's after clothes for all you little ones, isn't she? Well then, let's go find Ino!"
Temari reached out her hand, and the little girl took it without hesitation. There would be no more nightmares for this little one, Temari promised.
Moegi tugged both blondes towards the kitchen, determined to complete her assigned mission. Along the way, they had run into Hinata, who had howled with laughter at the look of willpower on the little girl's face.
The three women, plus one very determined little girl, entered the kitchen.
Hanabi was staring at them helplessly, as the boys were gobbling down cookie after cookie after cookie.
Hinata let out a single, low growl.
All four of them gulped, and turned towards the livid Hinata. And, while Hinata way often tiny and docile, right at this moment she was definitely not.
Well, she was still tiny, but she was definitely not docile. She was furious, and it was rolling off her in waves. Then it seemed to drain, and her shoulders slumped with a sigh.
"I'm going to be terrible mother. I'll never be able to stay mad at them. Com on boys, we're going to go buy you something to wear."
Four hours and fourteen people sitting around a table comfortable for seven, and they were good to go.
Hinata had put the children to bed (except Aki, because the little girl had once again insisted that Sakura be the one to put her to bed, and while Hinata found this randomly very funny, Sakura did not appreciate the teasing).
As they got down to the kitchen (the single room in the house where all major life decisions were made) they both noted how closely Anko and Kakashi were twined together, and just how hard Neji was clutching Tenten's hand. Suigetsu had his arm wrapped around Karin's waist, and his lips were pressed into her hair. Ino was curled up into Shino's chest, and Shikamaru and Temari were simply staring at each other.
It was nice. Quiet, too.
Sakura took a deep breath as Hinata sat down next to Naruto, and sat down next to Sasuke.
He put his arm around the back of her chair, and gently rubbed his fingers across the nape of her neck
The old Sakura would have balked, and slammed her elbow into his ribs. As it was, she only shoved her elbow into his ribs, albeit lightly, to get him to focus.
The other thirteen almost-adults turned to look at Hinata. All the attention was causing her to turn red, but she did not stutter. She was far too worn out to stutter.
"What are we going to do with them?"
Both Hinata and Naruto answered Suigetsu's question at the same time.
"We're keeping them."
They looked at each other then (with that sickeningly soft smile that people who've just fallen in love wear when they look at each other) and she softly touched his hand underneath the table.
"So who's keeping who?"
"I'm sticking with Aki. She already told me she wants to be me when she's older."
Sasuke looked scandalized (well, as scandalized as he could, really…).
"Another you?! One is more then enough!!"
Sakura snarled, and cracked her knuckles.
"Are you implying something, Uchiha?!"
He quailed under the glare she was sending him. No. Sasuke Uchiha did not quail. He looked away very quickly and pretended that he wasn't scared shitless.
Of course he wasn't scared.
Sakura crossed her arms over her chest, a victorious smirk on her lips.
Hinata tilted her head, and opened her mouth to speak, just as Anko. She nodded to the elder woman, and Anko spoke.
"I'm sorry girls, but Kakashi and I talked it over earlier. We decided we'd rather let you lovely people take care of them. We want to wait for our own."
Smirks, grins, small grins touched the lips of the younger generation, depending on each of their natures.
"So does this mean we're allowed to like each other?"
Both Anko and Kakashi nodded, unsure of what to expect. Sakura started muttering about they couldn't have stopped her either way (of course), and the rest just cheered. Loudly. Very loudly. The eldest two looked more then slightly frightened, and yet, at the same time, it was sadly amusing.
After said cheering had died down, Hinata sighed in exasperation. If the children had actually been sleeping before, they wouldn't be now. Actually, Hinata had highly doubted they'd been asleep in the first place. Hanabi might have been, but the others? No way in fucking hell.
Naruto shrugged, then.
"If it's all the same to all of you, I'll take Yuhi. The brat's grown on me. And I know Hanabi's staying with Hinata, because they're related, and hell, can you really blame her?"
It was quiet, then, for a moment.
Sakura's voice came, next.
"I don't want to split the, up. The children, I mean. I don't think it'd be good for them. They've been shaken up by this whole thing. Actually, we've all been shaken up by it, yes Sasuke, don't look at me like that, and do we have to do this now? I bet you anything there are seven pairs of feet waiting just outside that door. I will bet you anything."
"Five bucks, and bragging rights."
While the others kept up the pretence of deciding whether or not the children were actually just in the next room over, listening in or not, Hinata snuck up to the door, and threw it open.
Seven children fell in a heap at her feet.
"Pay up, Uchiha. I told you so! C'mon, what kid doesn't love eavesdropping? Seriously Sasuke, you must have been dropped on your head as a baby, or something."
Sasuke growled at her, only to realize that she wasn't listening to him anymore. Her attention had been diverted by the small (and in Sasuke's opinion evil, and attention-stealing) girl.
Sakura put said small, evil, Sakura's-attention-stealing girl on her lap, and then said child turned towards him and sent him a brilliant smile.
Damn her, she knew she had Sakura's attention, and she was revelling in it. He nearly growled at the still-beaming-at-him-because-she-knows-he's-jealous girl-child.
Apparently, the fallen children, all of whom were now standing, had made their choices.
Sasuke turned, and was surprised to note a boy standing next to him. His eyes widened a fraction, just a fraction, when he realized how much the boy resembled him. They had the same bone structure, and the same bottomless-pit eyes.
They nodded at each other, before both turning and glaring at the still-beaming Aki. Apparently Aki and Obito weren't all that fond of each other, because her smile immediately soured into a obviously much-used glare.
Sasuke mentally cheered.
Anko and Kakashi watched the proceedings with amusement.
"Well then. I guess we're going to be needing a bigger house."
OMIGOD IT'S DONE!!